17 Jun 2010
My first thought when I saw the Apple iPad and its iBooks app was, 'how do I get on it?'. That question has now been answered: Apple has opened up the iBookstore to everyone. But to take advantage of the opportunity, you need to be prepared.
First, sign up with Apple iTunes Connect. I get the impression that the sign-up process has been designed deliberately to put off casual wannabes. It's fairly detailed and demanding. For example, if you're not a US resident, you'll need an IRS ITIN - I explain here how we got ours.
Next, you'll need your book in ePub format. And you have to make sure it passes epubcheck with flying colours. I covered a lot of this in my three-part post about fixing InDesign CS3's ePub issues.
Apple wants a separate cover image, not one embedded in the ePub file, so have a hi-res version ready.
You'll be asked to enter various metadata, including a book description. You'll also be asked about the print version of the book (price, number of pages). If you don't have a print version, you need to guess at what it would be like. Strange.
The iTunes Connect website provides forms for uploading the files. But Mac users have a better option. You can download the iTunes Producer software which holds your hand as you go through the various stages of providing information for your book (metadata, pricing, territories, etc) and ensures that all the ducks are in a row before you upload. I highly recommend using this as it helps you understand what information you'll need to have at hand.
Once uploaded, the book needs to be approved. This took about 48 hours for our titles. We then sold our first e-book within a few hours, before we'd even had time to announce that the iPad editions were available.